Do you do workout videos, exercise classes, bootcamps, sprinting, weightlifting, general sports and or walking?
You’ll want a fitness heart rate monitor then… These are designed for multiple activities and styles of exercise. They’re designed to get you fit and maximize your wellbeing with weight management and calorie tracking tools.
What makes fitness heart rate monitor good for general fitness activities?
Simply, at the very minimum a fitness heart rate monitor needs:
- To show your calories burned.
- To show your exercise time.
- To show your real-time heart rate.
- To have heart rate zones to let you know the effect of your training.
Why are these particular 6 the best 6?
There are hundreds of adequate fitness heart rate monitors with the afore mentioned features. The best 6 (below) hit a “sweet spot” because they balance those features with a unique style, price, reliability and reputation. Check ’em out
Tough enough for an Ironman. Tough enough for you:
Topping my list of the best Fitness heart rate monitors is the affordable yet jam-packed Road Trainer by Timex. You won’t be disappointed with this watches ability to track your heart rate and calories during whatever type of exercise you choose to do.
You get features usually reserved for $200+ watches like 5 target zones, calorie counter, coded chest strap, recovery heart rate timer, data transfer to PC or Mac (with add-on Data Recorder), stopwatch and 100m water resistance – although you will not be able to get heart rate data while swimming.
I like how the Road Trainer looks – like a normal sport watch. You could wear it to school, to work or out to the park. Heart rate monitoring or not.
Want to fire your smelly Personal Trainer?
The FT60 is more expensive than the others on this list. Still, I see it as excellent value. And judging by the reviews around – a lot of people would agree with me.
People like how easy it is to setup your personal data on the FT60 (age, weight, heart rate zones etc.), how easy it is to view the stored workout heart rate data, that it is compatible with GPS and foot pod sensors… And that it has a few different colors and sizes available for women and men!
If you are looking for a versatile, high performance and durable fitness heart rate monitor that you can grow into the FT60 is your best bet.
Most affordable Polar watch with data upload to PC or Mac:
My third ranked general fitness heart rate monitor is the Polar FT7. It is Polar’s least expensive monitor with data upload to Mac or PC (via the FlowLink add-on.) Because of that I feel it carries immense potential for all ranges of people to improve their heart rate training effectiveness and efficiency.
PolarPersonalTrainer.com, where your data will eventually end up, has heaps of features to help you optimise your training for duration, intensity and frequency.
And like the FT60 above the FT7 also has a few different colors and sizes on offer.
Turn your iPod up to rock concert volume and STILL heart rate train with ease:
The Zone Trainer by Timex is one model down from the above Road Trainer. The main difference between them is the graphic display of your current heart rate zone that the Zone Trainer has.
What can you do with the Zone Trainer’s zone graphic display?
Well, most heart rate monitors will simply beep when you move between different heart rate zones. How are you supposed to remember which zone your are currently in? Well, with the Zone Trainer you can just look at the display at the top of the watch screen. During bootcamp or exercise class this can be crucial. Because if you see you are in the max zone you could immediately slow down – if you don’t want to be in that zone.
All-in-all the Zone Trainer is a perfect training companion for general fitness activities.
At last! A strapless heart rate monitor that can give you real-time heart rate continuously:
The ePulse2 is the only strapless monitor on this list. It is perfect for you if you can’t be bothered with the annoying and sometimes uncomfortable chest strap.
Most strapless monitors will not continuously monitor your heart rate. Instead they require you to touch a button on the watch to get intermittent heart rates during exercise. The ePulse2, however, is the world’s first continuously monitoring strapless heart rate monitor.
The gist of how this puppy works without a chest strap is by having a light emitting sensor on the back of the watch display that rests against your forearm. It emits light/wavelengths that “see” the change in size of your blood vessels. Each time your heart beats blood gushes through your veins and the ePulse2 “sees” that increase in vessel/vein diameter. And it therefore knows your heart rate.
Although this strapless monitor has an amazing approval rating of 4 / 5 some people do mention the battery draw as large. The light emitting sensor causes the ePulse2 battery life – on one charge – to be 3 hours. Now this is for continuous monitoring as you DO have the option to switch to intermittent monitoring and extend the battery life. How long do you exercise for? Because if it is less than 3 hours the ePulse2 comes stock with a rechargeable battery anyways.
This watch is one of a kind and definitely worth a look if you hate chest straps.
Must be bestselling for a reason:
The FT4 is Polar’s least expensive monitor with a calorie counter and user replaceable battery. In addition it boasts some lovely heart rate features like automatic age based target zones, 10 workout data memory and a coded signal between chest strap and watch – to prevent interference from others at the gym or from other radio signals in the air (they be everywhere!)
Unfortunately the FT4 does not have data upload to PC or Mac. If you want that you’ll need to get the FT7 or FT60 shown above.
The FT4, despite not having data upload, is Polar’s bestselling heart rate monitor.
You can get this watch in pink/orange as shown or grey/black. As you would expect from a best seller, this watch also shows favorable ratings with an approval of 4.5 / 5 off more that 130 people.